Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

Faculty

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Debbie Rodan

Second Advisor

Cat Hope

Abstract

The impact of the government's regulation of the live music industry is a relatively new field of research, with studies traditionally investigating the issue from the perspective of venues. Studies such as Vanishing Act (2003) and Live Music Revolution' (2008), conducted into the New South Wales and the other states of Australian live music industries respectively, have provided insight into how regulation can impede the ability for licensed premises to host music. These earlier studies however, have failed to engage with musicians. Instead these studies have investigated how the government regulation impacts on the ability for venues to host live music. Historically, the involvement of the government in the music industry has taken place at a Federal Government level, concerned with the recorded product and export markets. According to Breen (1993), government regulation of the music industry, is seen by some members of the music industry to hinder the "free-flow of creative talent" (p. 68). When State-based Governments become involved in regulating the industry, the focus shifts to live music, because predominately occurs within premises licensed to serve alcohol, an industry which is largely regulated by State Governments. Original contemporary musicians who perform at venues 'indefinitely' licensed under the Liquor Control Act 1988 (LCA) within metropolitan Perth were the focus of my study. This thesis presents a case study into the impact of the governments' regulation of live music from the perspective of contemporary musicians. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of three regulations within the timeframe of 2001 - 2008. The regulations were: the regulation of volume under the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 (EPR); the allocation of copyright revenue through the Australian Performing Rights Association's (APRA) Live Music Returns (LMR) and; the allocation of funding from the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) Contemporary Music Grants Program (CMGP). These regulations were included in the study because musicians either have to adhere to them (such as the EPR) or have a choice (as with the LMR and CMGP). Michel Foucault's theory of governmentality was employed in this study to give authority to the way the government has regulated the live music industry. In particular, the adoption of multiple 'mentalities' (Rose, 1996, p. 42) and the reliance on individuals in liberal societies to 'self-govern' which in turn requires knowing how to govern and how to be governed (Foucault, 1991, p. 87). The main finding of this study is that due to the reliance on' self-governing' the relationships musicians have with venues, audiences and regulators play an important role in determining the impact of regulations. This is because these relationships determine the manner in which musicians will engage with the regulations, and how regulatory breaches are handled, particularly due to the reliance on' self-governing'.

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